Who is the best high school boys basketball player in Southern California over the past 20 years? Over the next five days we’ll give you a chance to decide.
Our 32-player bracket tipped off last week with first-round matchups in all four regions: the Ed Azzam region, the Gary McKnight region, the Harvey Kitani region and the NBA region.
We now move into the Sweet 16.
In the Gary McKnight region, top seed Stanley Johnson from Mater Dei takes on Klay Thompson, a five seed out of Santa Margarita, to start the second round.
Here’s a look at the matchup:
(5) Klay Thompson, Santa Margarita
Thompson led Santa Margarita to the Division III State Championship in 2008. The Eagles finished the season with a 30-5 record. Thompson was a first-team All-State and Division III State Player of the Year honoree. He was also the Trinity League MVP. Thompson averaged 21 points per game that season and in the state title game, he set a state finals record with seven three pointers made in a 72-55 win over Sacramento.
He went on to play at Washington State where he set the school’s all-time mark in 3-point field goals made with 242. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors eleventh overall in the 2011 NBA Draft after playing for three seasons in Pullman. He has won three NBA titles with Golden State.
(1) Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei
Johnson is regarded as one of the best high school basketball players in the history of the state. He was a McDonald’s All-American in 2014, a two-time John R. Wooden Award winner for California Division I High School Player of the Year (2013, 2014) and a four-time California first-team all-state pick. That’s only the beginning, Johnson was one of three national finalists for the Naismith Trophy High School Player of the Year award in 2014. He was named California Mr. Basketball and Gatorade California Player of the Year in 2014 as well as The Los Angeles Times Player of the Year and Orange County Boys’ Athlete of the Year that same year.
Johnson led Mater Dei to a 135-5 record and four CIF Division I state titles during his time at the school, becoming the first player in California history to win four-straight upper-division state titles. The Monarchs were 70-0 during his final two high school campaigns He averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.5 steals per game as a senior to lead Mater Dei to a No. 1 final national ranking by USA Today. Johnson was also named CIF Division I State Player of the Year and State Junior of the Year, CIF Division I-AA co-Player of the Year and Orange County Register Player of the Year in 2013. He averaged 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a junior to propel Mater Dei to a third-consecutive state title and a No. 1 final national ranking from USA Today. He was named Cal-Hi Sports California Sophomore of the Year in 2012 after posting averages of 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and propelling Mater Dei to another title.
Johnson played college basketball at Arizona. He was drafted eighth overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2015 NBA Draft. He now plays for the Toronto Raptors.